Published: March 27, 2024

How to Have Difficult Conversations with Friends and Loved Ones—including talking about Gaza and Israel 

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Part of the CHA's Difficult Dialogues: Community Conversations series and Colorado Chautauqua's Voices at Chautauqua series.

How do we have difficult conversations with people you care about, but may disagree with? Join us for an enlightening open discussion on how to have productive conversations about controversial subjects.

Explore how a sincere willingness to listen and learn, instead of approaching tough conversations with an argumentative and persuasive effort, can transform challenging conversations. Join facilitators Jennifer Ho and Ami Dayan on March 27th (Wednesday, 6pm - 7pm) to practice having hard conversations, including on the topic of Gaza and Israel. 

Event Guidelines

The Difficult Dialogue series brings together local voices to explore complex topics, fostering mutual understanding and a respectful discourse. Difficult Dialogue events aim to create a space for grappling with tough subjects that people may find difficult or uncomfortable to talk about. These events are not debates but platforms for thoughtful exchange.

Our purpose is to hold dialogues on topics considered difficult, provocative, or controversial, among constituents that may have strong conflicting views. Our objective is NOT to necessarily agree, fix anything, prove anyone right or wrong, or alter anyone’s position. 

We are committed to fostering productive dialogues in the hopes that minds and hearts might expand. We ask that you:

  1. Keep an open mind 
  2. Be respectful of others 
  3. Listen with the intent to understand 
  4. Speak your own truth

We expect to experience discomfort when talking about hard things. Remain engaged and recognize that the discomfort can lead to problem-solving and authentic understanding. 


Jennifer Ho

Jennifer Ho, Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies, Director of the Center for Humanities & the Arts

The daughter of a refugee father from China and an immigrant mother from Jamaica, whose own parents were immigrants from Hong Kong, Jennifer Ho is the director of the Center for the Humanities & the Arts at CU Boulder, where she also holds an appointment as Professor in the Ethnic Studies department. She is the past president of the Association for Asian American Studies (2020-2022) and sits on the board of directors for the Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), the National Committee on US-China Relations, and Kundiman (an Asian American literature non-profit). Ho has co-edited two collection of essays, Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States (Ohio State University Press 2017) and Teaching Approaches to Asian North American Literature (Modern Language Association 2022), and she is the author of three scholarly monographs, Consumption and Identity in Asian American Coming-of-Age Novels (Routledge 2005), Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture (Rutgers University Press 2015), which won the South Atlantic Modern Language Association award for best monograph, and Understanding Gish Jen (University of South Carolina Press 2015). In addition to her academic work, Ho is active in community engagement around issues of race and intersectionality, leading workshops on anti-racism and how to talk about race in our current political climate.

Ami Dayan

Ami Dayan, award-winning Israeli/American playwright, director, performer

Ami Dayan is an award winning Israeli/American playwright, director, and performer. He studied and worked professionally in Europe, Israel and extensively in the United States. He serves on the board of the Jaipur Literature Festival in Boulder, and is founder of The Interview Game Inc., a Boulder-based company with a mission of bridging the intergenerational gap, and bringing people closer with curated reciprocal interviews. His latest project is directing the event series "Standing for Humanity in Gaza and Israel".


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